Broadway’s production of “The Light in the Piazza” worthily illuminated the talent of actor/singer Aaron Lazar, as Columbus resident and audience member Jeff Baker remembers it.
“He has a particularly gifted voice, and also outstanding acting instincts,” Baker said. “It certainly was a Tony award-winning-style performance.”
Baker will be among those in the crowd Sept. 29 when Lazar headlines the Columbus Indiana Philharmonic’s next “Cabaret at The Commons” downtown at 300 Washington St.
Lazar will present “Look For Me in the Songs,” featuring power ballads and love songs from the Great American Songbook to Motown, and everything from Stephen Sondheim to Billy Joel.
Lazar, who also has performed in “Les Misérables,” “Phantom of the Opera” and “Mama Mia!,” is another in a line of Broadway stars to shine in the nearly two-year series now boasting substantial success in a 400-seat venue offering a small community a big entertainment option. The concerts are presented in partnership with The Cabaret at the Columbia Club in Indianapolis.
“For me, one of the great things about this series is that the Philharmonic has been able to bring in the very top talent in the country in the realm of cabaret,” Baker said.
He is pleased by the crowds that have included three sellouts, and nearly a fourth at the most recent concert last month with “Rent” co-stars Adam Pascal and Anthony Rapp.
“I think that this community continually looks for quality arts entertainment,” Baker said. “We don’t have a large performing arts center. But cabaret, as it turns out, is one of the things that works really well in The Commons.”
Initially, some residents wondered if The Commons might not seem intimate enough for cabaret (Indianapolis’ venue seats 125 people). But Baker pointed out that one of his favorite cabaret locales in New York City seats about 300 in a tight setting.
Columbus resident Cher Cunningham plans to catch Lazar’s show. She has made annual trips to the Big Apple for 26 years with friends to catch Broadway shows.
“I like the fact that the Philharmonic has brought in some of the very people I’ve seen on the (Broadway) stage,” Cunningham said. “That’s thrilling for me.”
She mentioned that she and her husband, Joe, never worry if the next Cabaret at The Commons features an artist who is unknown to them.
“We’ve learned to trust the Philharmonic,” she said. “And we have never been disappointed. The talent the series has attracted has been unbelievable.”
The biggest current star stretching beyond the bounds of Broadway was May 2015 “Dancing With the Stars” champion Rumer Willis, who drew 430 people to a summer show in Columbus. Her performance generated substantial buzz and upbeat, informal reaction on local social media.
What: The Columbus Indiana Philharmonic’s Cabaret at The Commons series with Broadway and movie performer Aaron Lazar in “Look For Me in the Songs,” featuring tunes ranging from Stephen Sondheim to Billy Joel.
When: 7:30 p.m. Sept. 29.
Where: The Commons, 300 Washington St. in Columbus.
Tickets: $20, $35 and $55, availaboe at the cip.org and at 812-376-2638.